Michigan Outdoor News Cuff and Collars — Jan. 20, 2017

DISTRICT 1

CO Brett DeLonge and Sgt. Ryan Aho received information that a hunter may have shot a deer with a muzzleloader after the black-powder season was closed in Marquette County. The COs located the suspect’s tracks in the snow and followed them to the hunter’s location. After a quick license check and interview with the hunter, it was determined that the shot was from another area and not the hunter in question. The COs also addressed the hunter’s excessive bait pile and the newly emptied 50 pound corn bag at the hunter’s tree stand. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jeffrey Dell and CO Jeremy Sergey received a report of two snowmobilers that fell through the ice on Hayward Lake. They were able to locate and treat the victims for hypothermia at a nearby good Samaritan’s residence. Local fire, EMS and sheriff’s department were on scene quickly.

CO Nathan Sink was on patrol when he received a call of a dead wolf in Gogebic County. Sink arrived and found a dead animal as reported. After further inspection, Sink determined the animal was a coyote that died from natural causes.

CO Jared Ferguson followed up with Wildlife Division on CWD testing that was conducted on two elk heads found dumped in northern Dickinson County. Testing was done for CWD and the results were negative.

CO Jared Ferguson was returning from a call after dark when he observed a small dog limping down the road. Ferguson coaxed the dog into his truck with parts of his leftover lunch and found the dog to be wearing a collar with an address. Ferguson returned the dog to a residence approximately two miles away. The owners were very thankful for Ferguson’s efforts in returning the dog.

CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy attended the probable cause hearing of a subject arrested on a two-count felony warrant stemming from a hunter harassment complaint on the opening day of deer season. The judge ruled there was enough probable cause to bind the case to Circuit Court.

DISTRICT 2

CO Chris Lynch conducted a meat processor inspection and observed an antler point restriction (APR) violation. Contact with the owner of the license was made and the license owner stated he didn’t shoot the deer. He stated his dad shot the deer. Lynch talked to the dad and a ticket was issued for borrowing a tag of another.

CO Chris Lynch was following up on meat processor’s records and noticed a suspicious license purchase. Lynch contacted the hunter and the hunter confessed to shooting the 8-point buck and buying a license after he shot it. A report is being submitted to the prosecutor’s office for review.

CO Kevin Postma responded to a complaint of a dead deer in someone’s yard which appeared to be untagged. Postma arrived on scene, located the gutted deer, and made contact with the occupants of the house. It was determined that the owner of the house shot the deer at midnight the night before, with a rifle and without a license. After dealing with wildlife violations, Postma then turned his attention to the fact that the deer was shot out of the window where a convicted felon resides. Also found in the room were various amounts of marijuana. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office for a multitude of criminal and wildlife offenses.

COs Kevin Postma and Calvin Smith waited for a hunter to return to camp at the end of the afternoon hunt, approximately 15 minutes after shooting hours had ended there was no sign of any hunters returning to camp. Postma and Smith then decided to attempt to locate the hunter who was thought to be possibly still hunting. After a roughly 11⁄4 mile walk, the COs located the hunter still in his blind hunting almost 50 minutes past shooting hours. The hunter advised he was just waiting for the deer to leave. It was apparent to the COs that the hunter was taking advantage of the full moon and recent snow cover. Enforcement action was taken for hunting after hours and no kill tag in possession.

CO Jon Busken received a complaint of an individual taking a 10-point deer without a license in Mackinac County. Since the suspects live downstate, contact was made by CO Justin Ulberg. Ulberg obtained a confession that the son took a deer without a license and the father loaned the son his license to tag the deer. Charges are pending.

DISTRICT 3

CO Chad Baldwin received a complaint from a local farmer of recreational trespass in Charlevoix County. The trespassers constructed a bridge over a creek on a private woodlot adjacent to open farmland. Along with the bridge, the trespassers also cut down a large tree and created an ORV trail through the property. Baldwin was able to obtain a picture taken from a trail camera on the property and after several interviews the identity of the individual was revealed. Baldwin was also able to obtain a confession from the responsible party and the case was submitted to the prosecutor’s office.

COs Andrea Erratt and Andrea Albert placed a deer decoy on private property where there were issues with road hunters. During the decoy deployment, COs witnessed a truck drive by, stop and back up to where the decoy was placed. The operator of the vehicle shot from inside the vehicle at the decoy. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Andrea Albert reports a subject she dealt with earlier in the season, who was drunk with a firearm and pointed it at his neighbors, pleaded guilty to being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated. The firearm was condemned by the court and he was sentenced to 93 days in jail. He was also charged with probation violations.

COs Brad Bellville, Matt Theunick and Mark DePew responded to two elk mortality collar readings. Tracking collars are used by DNR’s Wildlife Division that send location and movement information on collared elk. A mortality reading is transmitted on an elk that has not changed location for a certain length of time. Both elk were gunshot, and one bullet was recovered. The investigation continues.

DISTRICT 4

CO Ryan Andrews was on patrol in Lake County when he observed a pair of snowmobiles operating down the shoulder of a county road. The snowmobiles did not have any registration decals visible. Andrews stopped them and it was determined that one of the machines was new and the operator had proper paperwork and was waiting for his new registration to arrive by mail. The second individual admitted that he had not properly registered his snowmobile for the past two seasons. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ryan Andrews received a complaint of an injured eagle in Lake County. Contact was made with the complainant to verify the location and obtain any additional information. The caller saw the eagle get struck by a truck as it flew over the roadway. DNR Wildlife Division personnel and Andrews both responded to the area and saw the eagle fly up into a tree without exhibiting any signs of injury. Andrews patrolled the area over the next several days and the eagle appears to be uninjured.

While on patrol, CO Ryan Andrews and CO Josiah Killingbeck observed two snowmobiles proceeding through a stop sign without stopping or slowing down. The COs stopped the snowmobiles and the lead operator admitted to running the stop sign because he said he didn’t see it until the last minute before passing it. The second operator said he was just “following the leader” and never saw the sign. Enforcement action was taken.

While checking deer at a local processor in Lake County, CO Josiah Killingbeck located a set of 4-point antlers with a kill tag that was purchased on Nov. 19 at 5:45 p.m. and the tag was notched for Nov. 20. Because the deer did not have three points on one side, Killingbeck began investigating where the deer was killed. He contacted the hunter associated with the tag and asked the hunter where he was hunting. The hunter initially said that he was in Lake County but then changed his story and said he had killed the deer “down south.” After speaking with the property owner, Killingbeck re-contacted the hunter, only to be greeted by a man who was crying and apologizing for taking a 4-point in Lake County in violation of the antler point restrictions. The hunter also advised Killingbeck that he had shot the deer first and then purchased his tags afterwards. He also admitted to hunting without a license on Nov. 15 and the subsequent days. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO John Huspen assisted the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police with an ice rescue where the victim had fallen through the ice on a small lake. Using a throw bag containing rope, Huspen and the emergency responders were able to extract the victim from the water. With deep snow conditions, Huspen transported the victim to an awaiting ambulance. The victim is expected to make a full recovery.

CO Ben McAteer was patrolling the Mason Tract of Crawford County when he contacted a grouse hunter whose dog pointed on an injured barred owl. McAteer was able to recover the injured owl and it was transported to the local rehabilitation center.

COs Jonathan Warner and Brian Olsen assisted with pre-screening interviews for new COs in Lansing. After seeing several “red flags” in the applicant’s paperwork, the two COs decided to run a check for warrants on the individual. It was confirmed that the individual had an outstanding warrant with a statewide pick up range. The candidate was called into a separate room where he was advised of his warrant and placed in custody. He was transported and lodged in the Eaton County Jail.

CO Kyle Cherry received a RAP complaint of a badger that had been left alive in a trap for four days in Iosco County. Cherry located the trap and released the badger. He made contact with the trapper using the information left on the trap tag and interviewed the man. The trapper advised Cherry that he had been out of the area for about a week. A citation was issued for failure to check traps within 24 hours.

CO Steve Lockwood contacted a hunter during a recent patrol. The contact led back to his garage with two untagged deer hanging. The subject attempted to blame other acquaintances for the lapse in judgment. After all interviews, Lockwood ended up back at the original hunter’s residence and informed him of the pending charges. The subject began to cry and admitted that both deer had been shot by him on a recent deer drive. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 6

CO Quincy Gowenlock responded to a complaint in the Shiawassee River State Game Area of a subject who was deer hunting out of his assigned zone and possibly hunting from a dike. Upon arrival, the CO observed the hunter sitting on a DNR owned bulldozer, parked on the dike, with a muzzleloader in hand. The CO made contact and advised the hunter to get off the bulldozer. When asked what he was doing, the hunter stated, “hunting in Unit 2.” The CO informed the hunter he was hunting in Unit 1, which was closed to deer hunting. The CO further informed the hunter that he could not hunt from a dike and he certainly could not hunt from a bulldozer, which is a motor vehicle. After hearing all of the violations at hand, the suspect stated, “well, I’m just all messed up today.” The subject was issued a ticket for hunting out of his area and given warnings for his other violations.

CO Quincy Gowenlock received a complaint of a suspect shooting too many bucks and posting pictures on social media. Upon contact, it was determined the juvenile was posing for pictures of deer that he and his relatives had killed. During the interview, it was revealed that the father of the suspect had acquired a free license from Meijer for the youth hunt and the son had shot a 6-point buck. The father then purchased a combo license for his son during the firearm season and while hunting the son shot a 5-point buck violating the antler point restrictions. Along with the antler point restriction, it was also a violation to purchase a single deer tag and a combo tag. Enforcement action was taken.

CO John Byars observed four men walking into the woods in the Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area. The CO made contact with the men and asked what they were doing. They stated they were recovering their treestands. The CO advised he would walk with them. One of the subjects became verbally combative while walking into the woods and asked the CO why he was walking with them. The CO advised he wanted to check their treestands. The CO found that neither of the treestands had the owner’s name and address on them. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 7

COs Zach Bauer and Brad Brewer conducted a search warrant, in regards to the taking of an over limit of bucks. The subject had taken four bucks and had used tags from both his father and grandfather. Evidence and firearms were seized and confessions were obtained from the suspects. Warrants will be sought at the prosecutor’s office when the investigation is complete.

CO Matt Page received a RAP complaint regarding a subject that was suspected of shooting a great horned owl. Further investigation led Page to believe that the subject had taken a red fox without a license and an antlerless deer without any deer license. In addition, information was gathered that the subject’s brother had taken an 8- point buck and had purchased a tag after the fact. Page, with the assistance of CO Zach Bauer and Sgt. Zach Doss obtained a search warrant for the subject’s residence. Page and Doss made initial contact at the residence, being assisted by COs Andy Bauer, Zach Bauer, Jeff Robinette, and Tyler Cole. Page and Doss subsequently obtained full confessions from the brothers to all of the suspected violations. Seized were a great horned owl, red fox parts, meat, and horns of the two deer. Warrants for numerous wildlife violations are being sought in the case.

CO Paul Higashi received a trespass/shots fired complaint from Kalamazoo County Dispatch and responded to the location. The investigation revealed footprints that led to a dead deer wrapped in a tarp on the other side of the complainant’s property line. Further tracking led to where two male subjects were standing at the end of a driveway. The suspect shot a doe without a license and the animal had been taken with a shotgun during muzzleloading season. It was later determined that the suspect had his hunting privileges revoked through 2016. Enforcement was action taken.

CO Chuck Towns followed up on information that a subject had shot a 9-point buck and placed a relative’s tag on it. The subject then posted pictures of the deer on his Facebook page. Upon contact, the subject confessed to the violation and the deer was located in the subject’s barn. Enforcement was action taken.

DISTRICT 8

CO Andrew Monnich was checking an area in Lenawee County where a snowmobile fled from him a few days prior when he observed the same snowmobile on the road in front of him. Monnich initiated a stop with the snowmobile and the operator again fled across a cut cornfield. Monnich was able to follow the snowmobile for over five miles due to the fresh snow and located the machine parked in a driveway. Monnich made contact with the rider who admitted he ran because he hadn’t yet registered his machine yet. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Andrew Monnich received a complaint from a deer hunter who located a snare on his property. Monnich met the hunter and located the snare which was marked with identification of the trapper. Monnich made contact with the trapper who stated that he wasn’t using snares yet. Monnich advised him that he was able to observe his foot prints in the snow where he had been tending the traps. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jason McCullough responded to a safety zone complaint near the Battle Creek city limits between two houses in a very narrow strip of woods. When McCullough arrived on scene it was 25 minutes after legal shooting hours. The complainant stated the hunter was still in the woods. McCullough was able to track the subject into the woodlot where he was found hunting without hunter orange. After questioning the hunter, he admitted to trying to shoot a deer after legal shooting hours. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Troy Ludwig and Jason McCullough conducted a processor inspection and found a 9-point buck with tagging irregularities. The license had been purchased on the same day the deer was tagged, but was purchased after hunting hours. CO Shane Webster and CO Troy Ludwig interviewed the husband of the female hunter whose tag was on the deer. The husband admitted to shooting the deer then attaching his wife’s tag. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

While on patrol, COs Travis Dragomer and Justin Muehlhauser conducted several taxidermy and processor inspections throughout Genesee County. While checking one processor the COs discovered a skull and antlers with an Illinois tag on it. Illinois is a state that has tested positive for CWD and importation of deer into Michigan from Illinois is illegal. The processor claimed that they were unaware they couldn’t accept deer from certain states. The COs explained the regulations of importing deer from CWD positive states and the implications of a larger CWD outbreak. The COs gathered the information of the hunter who imported the deer and followed up. The antlers and processed meat were seized and sent to Lansing for testing. Later that evening while inspecting another processor, the COs discovered three deer that were taken in Nebraska. Nebraska is also a CWD positive state. Again, the processor stated that they didn’t know that they couldn’t accept the deer. The three deer were seized and sent to the lab for testing. Both cases were from guided hunts. Muehlhauser explained that it is not the guide’s responsibility to know Michigan’s laws rather it is the responsibility of the hunter. The list of states in which it is illegal to transport free-range deer from is printed in the 2016 Michigan Hunting Guide. The hunters will face charges of illegally importing deer into Michigan from CWD positive states. Only deboned meat, antlers, antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue, hides, and upper canine teeth may be imported into Michigan. It is also lawful to import a finished taxidermist mount. Enforcement action taken

CO Joseph Deppen was checking hunters in Macomb County when he noticed a vehicle parked on private land, well after shooting hours. Deppen waited and the hunter finally emerged. The hunter admitted to shooting at a doe, but his muzzleloader did not fire. When asked for his license, the hunter could not find his backpack containing them. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Kris Kiel watched an angler in a canal off of Lake St. Clair. When the subject noticed the CO and said, “You are the last person I wanted to see today.” The subject admitted to Kiel that he was over his limit and also had a bass. Kiel told the subject that the bass was still in season as long as it was 14 inches. The subject just looked down and said, “Nope.” After counting all of the fish in the subject’s bucket, he was found to have 18 panfish, 73 yellow perch, and a nine inch largemouth bass. Enforcement action was taken and reimbursement will be sought.

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